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One of the main issues in biodiversity management is the protection of special or critical, littoral habitats, including shallow water bodies such as brackish estuaries and beaches.

While it is useful and practical to focus on individual habitat types or species, one must not forget that they exist only as components of wider coastal systems. The complexity of biotic systems and the inter relationship of their components requires that each coastal water ecosystem should be managed as a system. Neither piecemeal management nor treatment of single components or single species will fully succeed.

There are many protection measures to secure biodiversity conservation in coastal zones, including the following

Importance of Marine Protection Areas (MPA) to preserve marine biodiversity: the case of the Black Sea

Biodiversity means diversity of life at all levels of biologic organisation. 300 thousands marine species have been identified in world seas, and this figure constitutes 15 % of the global biological diversity. Since the formation of the world, the diversity hasn’t been stable but had a tendency to increase. Decreases observed from time to time have been all natural and show the points where ecological successions occur. Our country, with Meditarennean, Agean, and the sea of Marmara and Black Sea except for the islands, has a coastal length of 8.500 kms. Such long marine and coastal zones have rich biodiversity values.
Black Sea has been identified as “unicum hydrobiologicum” as it has many different characteristics from the other seas (Surugiu et al., 2010). The only connections of Black Sea, which is in the form of a semi-closed basin, are Istanbul and Kerch straits.It has rare cases of flux and reflux owing to its semi-closed characteristics such that the rise may amount to 13 cm at most in spring(Arnoldi, 1948). It has a depth of 2212 metres as different from the other basins having brackish water characteristics. A strong pycnocline layer exists between the layers because of waters low in salinity in upper layers and waters of Meditarennean origin more saline in lowers layers. This limits the water compounds in vertical direction and turns Black Sea into a unique biological and chemical life environment.

Unfortunately we cannot adequately protect this unique sea. We haven’t been able to reveal its biodiversity yet. Approximately 5630 species live in Black Sea ranging from unicellular organism to vertebrate lives with high organisation. This figure is considered to be quite low compared with Meditarennean. Generally biodiversity in Black Sea is considered to be three times poorer than the one in Meditarennean. Approximately 80-85 % of the flora and fauna of the Black Sea is composed of the species of Meditarenean Atlantic origin and it won’t be wrong to say that the regions doesn’t have a idiosyncratic biodiversity.  The remainder covers ponto-caspic relicts and fresh water species.

Compared with Meditarennean, fauna of the Black Sea is thought to be lower than Marmara and Meditarennean sea. The basic reasons for this low biodiversity are low salinity and existence of H2S and it limits the settlement of the species over the region. However, biodiversity of Black Sea is guessed to be far beyond the known number of species. In addition to the special ecological conditions in Black Sea, absence of a common language used in scientific publications and publication in local languages and in local journals, existence of regions where no detailed scientific research is done (Georgian and Turkish coasts), being unaware of the the exact intake of the exotic species into Black Sea are the reasons for low legures of biodiversity.

Around 800 species have been determined in Meditarennean ecosystem so far. Most of them are the Indian-Pacific origined species entering through Suez canal. Besides, many exotic species are known to be involved in Meditarennean ecosystem by the other artifical ways. Existence of lesepsien is not the case in Black Sea but many species have been determined owing to ship transportation. According toInternational maritime Organisatio (IMO) data, 80 % of shipping all over the world is carried out by sea. 85.000 ships carry 3-10 million tonnes balast water a year and many animal and plant species are also carried in these balast waters. No problem arises about carrying these lives adjusted to living in high salinity waters in normal conditions. These lives cannot adjust to low salinity of the Black Sea. However, transports in marine environments on earth with low salinity and close to the Black Sea water pose a risk for the Black Sea. Therefore, the Black Sea has environments appropriate for the colonization of the exotic species originally preferring brackish water. Examining the trend of the exotic species in Black Sea, we notice a big rise between 1980-2000.

Marine coastal areas are known to be the least protected areas under the pressure of human based factors. Human based eutrophication and rise in technological pollution have mostly caused in destruction of biodiversity, decrease in productivity and in refreshing capacity of the ecosystem, negatively affecting the coastal ecosystem in different coastal areas in Black Sea. Generally, human based effects and natural and climate changes in the marine environment in Black Sea together affect and thus many changes occur in ecosystem and biodiversity in ecosystem.



In general, human pressures which are threats to the continuity of the biodiversity in Black Sea must be minimised. One of the basic tools to ensure this is to declare marine protection areas.
Coastal and Marine Protection Areas (MPA) is known to be one of the most important tools of conservation of marine biodiversity and environmental protection. Now more than 60 protection areas have been determined by the Black Sea coastal countries ang 40 other areas have been suggested so far. No marine protection area is available which has been determined and suggested from Turkish Black Sea coast up to now. Determining and conserving Marine Protection Area gained importance after 1970s and it has been indispensable and obligatory today.Basic tools in determining marine protection are to put into practice environmental protection, public awareness, scientific research for reference areas, tourism, protecting fish spawns, and understanding of sustainable fisheries. In the eight article of convention on protecting the Black Sea against pollution already adopted in 1992, such expressions are available. The contracting countries have agreed upon endeavouring for conserving the habitat and examining the changes, minimising the pollution and protecting Black Sea marine environment. Again in 1996 within the framework of the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan, supporting the conservation of the coastal and marine areas, particularly wetland and determining new protection areas was focused on. Besides, in 2002 within the framework of the protocol for BLCP-Black Sea biodiversity and protecting the basin against pollution, the party countries were required to determine Special Marine Protection area. Natura 2000 information network, set up to increase the protection of the nature, has committed to serious work on the state of marine protection areas and protection of habitat and species. However, this information network has been inadequate in protection the marine life, because it only includes the most important species and protection areas and doesn’t cover the Black Sea. Therefore, we desprately need a more comprehensive information network.


Table :Total surface of Black Sea marine and coastal protected areas by country and marine
protected areas (MPA) per unit shoreline
Source: Black Sea TDA 2007, BSC


Example on common eider ducks (Somateria mollissima) in White Sea, Russia

Common eider is a widely distributed large duck. It almost disappeared along the coast of the White Sea because of hunting and human consumption of eggs.

Since 1930 a large part of the coastline of the Kandalaksha Bay together with approximately one hundred small islands in the White Sea have been declared as a strictly protected area. Both hunting, fishing and even visiting of these areas are forbidden or strictly regulated in order to protect the ducks during the nestling period, and a few weeks more, while the ducklings are growing up.

At this moment the population of common eider ducks in the White sea exceeds 5000 - 8000 animals. This is more than in the beginning of the 20th century.

Example: Over-exploitation of natural resources (water); SEYFE LAKE, Turkey


Anatolia region of Turkey, 220 km from Ankara City and 30 km from Kirsehir City. The Seyfe catchment area covers 152,200 hectares.

In 1960's and 1970's there were several attempts to drain the lake water to gain agricultural land. Seyfe Lake and the wetland area have been protected against these actions.

The lake and the surrounding 10,700 hectare area have been declared a "Nature Conservation Site". The same area is to be conserved for its natural and ecological characteristics, on an international level according to the Ramsar Convention, 1994.

Main issues:

The lake environment holds a rich flora and fauna. The most important fauna consists of water birds. 187 different bird species have been identified. The number of birds increases in winter and during migration periods reaching numbers up to 100,000. The lake area is also an important breeding area for endangered species of birds.

Shallow watercourses with fresh and salty water, wetlands and the step areas give this region an abundance of biodiversity.

Еxample: The "Kaliakra" reserve combines the history of these lands with wilderness preserved

The "Kaliakra" reserve is located in the municipality of Kavarna, Dobrich region.  The fortress Kaliakra is included in the list of The 100 National Tourist Sites, and has a status of an archaeological reserve. The nature reserve combines the history of these lands with the preservation of its wilderness.
Kaliakra is the only Bulgarian reserve covering maritime territorial sea - Sea coast with a width of 500 m and a length of 8 km. Vegetation consisted of over 450 species of vascular plants, of which 45 are rare, endangered and endemic species. Here are the largest deposits in Bulgaria Fernleaf peony, broad sea pink, rue, Sarmatian peeled, Caucasian wormwood, etc. It further hosts Red Data Book species as Russian sturgeon, Acipenser stellatus and Huso. The area provides a calm stay and rich food during breeding, migration and wintering of large numbers of birds. Kaliakra acts as a corridor for birds of autumn passage, including Pygmy Cormorant, White Pelican, black and white stork and others. Near the cape dolphins can be observed along with cormorants, starlings and rock blackbirds. There is still a, unfortunately very small, population of monk seals.

Main issues:
In the reserve borders are prohibited: any kind of construction, waste pollution, harassing, pursuing, capturing, killing wildlife, damage to nests and dens them, hunting and fishing, destruction of grass, bushes and trees, gathering of wild plants, fruits and seeds, planting non-native plant species, camping and fires, movement of visitors outside the designated areas, grazing of livestock; opening quarries and any other activities which affect the distinctive character of nature.
To limit the anthropogenic impact on the reserve, buffer zone has been declared by Order № 390/25.04.1983, covering an area 109 ha. In the reserve borders are prohibited: any kind of construction, hunting, fishing, gathering of wild plants, fruits and seeds, use of chemical plant protection, livestock grazing, the extraction of aggregates and other minerals.

Further information: